The Grand Traverse Cultural Center

is a non-profit organization in Northwest Michigan.  Headquartered in the Grand Traverse Bay area, the organization supports the celebration of culture and history across eight counties: Charlevoix, Antrim, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Benzie, Kalkaska, Manistee and Wexford.  These shoreline communities have a rich heritage, rife with the history of native peoples who lived here for centuries, as well as settlers from across the world.  This history reveals much about our culture today: our use and appreciation of the area’s natural resources, our relationships among different cultures, and our beliefs about the communities in which we live.

In order to learn about and truly understand the history of the region, we tell stories.  Our shared history can be maintained, documented, and appreciated through its stories of various peoples, their interplay with the land, and their sometimes tumultuous connections with each other.  It is these stories, and what we can learn from them, that drives the activities of the Grand Traverse Cultural Center.

Numerous agencies throughout the region exist to celebrate culture and history, telling stories of how we came to be.  These agencies often focus on a particular aspect of culture, a specific landmark, or a historical time period.  Many are seated in a village or small city, and are focused on that community.  Their work is critically important to maintaining awareness of culture and history, and passing down the stories to the next generation.  They also serve an essential role in improving awareness among all generations, many of whom have never heard the stories of those who came before.

The Grand Traverse Cultural Center exists to convene and support these organizations, facilitate collaboration, and expand their reach to the regional level.  Grand Traverse Cultural Center and its affiliates will offer experiences to residents and visitors of the region – experiences that celebrate and honor our history and culture.  Together, the various focus areas of these organizations can be knit together to create a more comprehensive story – one that reveals shared beliefs, common interests, and connections across the region.The Grand Traverse Culrutal Center

Our Vision

Residents and visitors to the Grand Traverse area will celebrate and honor the culture and history of the region. All will experience our rich heritage and, through increased awareness of the past, will come to appreciate who we are today.

The Mission

  • Tell the stories of the people and places of the region;
  • Bring greater visibility to local organizations that are focused on the culture and history of the region;
  • Provide engaging experiences that build awareness of the culture and history of the region;
  • Encourage the growth of cultural tourism, providing an expansion of this component of economic growth in the region;
  • Facilitate the exploration of culture and history in public and private schools throughout the region; and,
  • Serve as a resource for partners, residents, and visitors who wish to explore the culture and history of the region.The Grand Traverse Culrutal Center